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Five sites identified for potential workforce housing in Snowmass

Snowmass town staff has drafted a “big picture” conceptual plan for how more than 200 affordable and workforce housing units could be tucked into the existing village, as presented to Town Council earlier this week.

This plan, which was developed by town staff, Connect One Design, DJArchitects and JVA Consulting Engineers, aims to show the most promising opportunities for future town housing development — identified as in the upper numbered lot, Carriage Way Apartments, Daly Lane and Snowmass Inn, and Town Hall areas — and is the third of the town’s four-part development of a “Conceptual Master Housing Plan.”

“We’ve got a draft that we think is going to get you guys to reach some of your goals,” said Town Manager Clint Kinney of the draft plan at the Tuesday council meeting. “There’s some innovative things in here, there’s some big picture ideas in here. … We want to make sure that this is a master plan with a lot of vision and a lot of detail to come, but it’s the vision that we’re hoping to get some feedback on.”

In the 2018 Town Comprehensive Plan, Snowmass Town Council established a “near-term strategy” for housing, including “update the housing regulations, actively identify opportunities and partners to address senior housing needs, and incentivize the creation of an additional 200 units.”

Last September, Town Council started chipping away at the 200-unit goal with the approval of the Coffey Place affordable housing project. The 15 deed-restricted units are on track to be completed by early summer 2021, with the lottery for the homes tentatively planned for the end of October or early November.

Now through the phased Conceptual Master Housing Plan development, town staff and consultants have looked at where best to “tuck in” the remaining 185 units into the existing village. The housing plan team started with 69 potential sites, narrowed it down to 21 sites using nine objective criteria, and is moving forward with five sites identified as “most likely to succeed” for further study and schematic design, as outlined in town documents. A final plan will include site plans, estimated costs, infrastructure improvements needed, zoning and land-use considerations and recommended next steps.

Betsy Crum, town housing director, emphasized that the goal of the master housing plan is to explore where adding affordable housing is possible on a broad, conceptual level, and that each proposed site would need to go through a planned unit development (PUD) process if given the go ahead by Town Council.

“It’s important to say that this is not being proposed as a design as much as it is a concept and plan,” Crum said. “The council gave us a goal of 200 units and we’ve just been trying to see if that’s achievable, is that even possible? And it turns out it is.”

Crum explained that right now the town is in the third phase of plan development, where the design and architecture consultants were tasked with taking the five most promising sites for potential housing and analyzing how many units and what types of units each site could hold; how the housing could be conceptualized to not take away existing parking and fit in with the current character and massing of the village; and how the design could roughly align with town housing development requirements and meet identified town goals.

And on Tuesday, she presented the team’s basic conceptual designs of the five potential housing areas to council for feedback, going over the broad-level layout and details for the proposed units at each site:

TOWN HALL ‘DRAW’ SITE:

The area behind Town Hall is known as “The Draw.” The site has the potential for 90 one-, two- and three-bedroom units that would be accessed by a winding, switchback drive. The site could be developed in phases with a combination of rental and deed-restricted units, and could potentially support 120 parking spaces.

PUBLIC WORKS INFILL SITE:

The area west of the town public works administrative offices. The site could host 12 townhomes with 20 dedicated parking spaces, with access through the public works parking lot.

CARRIAGE WAY APARTMENTS AND LOT 1:

This site looks to combine the existing Carriage Way Apartments with Lot 1 without taking away Lot 1 parking. The 39 proposed one- and two-bedroom units would be developed into the hillside going up to Lot 1 and result in a net gain of 27 apartments (there are 12 units in the Carriage Way Apartments) and 27 parking spaces.

UPPER NUMBERED LOTS 10 THROUGH 12:

The site includes building multi-story, multi-family housing on Lots 10 through 12 without impacting existing parking. The design for the site includes open platforms above the lots where 78 one- and two-bedroom units could be built, preserving parking underneath the platforms and adding on-grade spaces behind each structure.

DALY LANE AND SNOWMASS INN:

This site combines the Snowmass Inn, the Daly Lane bus depot and former community pool site now owned by the Snowmass Community Foundation. This is the only site that includes land not currently controlled by the town and relies on the new mall transit center being built. Development would include several pods of workforce housing facing Daly Lane, rental and/or deed-restricted multifamily units facing Benedict Park and potential for larger, market-rate condos at the top level. In total, the site has potential for 72 units (net gain of 33 because the Snowmass Inn already has 39 rooms) and 69 parking spaces in a below-housing parking garage.

If all five sites are pursued and maximized, an additional 269 units of housing could be created to meet workforce rental and ownership needs in Snowmass, exceeding the 200-unit goal, Crum explained.

“I really think they were quite creative in how they thought about each of these sites,” Crum said, referring to the consultant team. “What (the draft plan) said to me is that with some creativity and willingness to look at sites that are out there, we could really achieve this housing goal that I think is going to continue to be a challenge.”

Crum also updated council Tuesday on the town’s 120-day due diligence period investigations into the Snowmass Inn, which the town is under contract to purchase for $6 million. The period deadline is Oct. 12 and the town will have 60 days to close on the purchase after that deadline, town documents say.

But while council recognized the importance of this plan, Crum’s presentation came at the end of a nearly three-hour discussion on the proposed Base Village minor PUD amendment — leaving council members feeling like they didn’t have enough time to dig into it or discuss the Snowmass Inn due diligence investigation period for purchase of the housing property, which ends Oct. 12.

“I think this is really important stuff and I don’t want to rush through it,” Councilman Bill Madsen said. “It certainly addresses our big goals and is obviously a priority.”

“I think we need more time, I just feel like we’re rushed every time we get to this housing issue, we’re always rushed,” Councilman Tom Goode added.

Crum and Kinney said they would add more housing discussions onto the council agenda, giving Town Council more time to review the master housing plan progress and Snowmass Inn information.

Crum and the rest of the master housing plan team plan to have rough costs for each conceptual site development at the Oct. 5 council meeting, and are looking at the potential for round table discussions with developers on each design as well as opportunity for community discussion and weigh-in.

“We want this to be a plan that will result in housing,” Crum said. “We want this to be a plan that has legs, that we can move forward with and get more housing for folks because the need is only growing.”

mvincent@aspentimes.com

Editor’s note: This story has been updated with the correct name of the architectural firm working with the town staff, which is DJArchitects.


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